The Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an international TEFL training and certification program. Over 10,000 people a year successfully complete CELTA courses in 240 approved centers in 49 countries around the world. All successful participants receive certification from Cambridge University.
Originally known as the "RSA Certificate," the program became the "RSA/Cambridge CTEFLA" in 1985. The name changed to "RSA/Cambridge CELTA" in 1996 and to "Cambridge CELTA" in 2001.
Who Recognizes The CELTA?
- The CELTA is recognized by TEFL employers worldwide, including: language schools such as International House, ELSI and EF; many overseas public schools, colleges and other employers; many ministries of education, and government bodies such as The British Council; and by TESOL, IATEFL and other major professional organizations.
- It is well regarded by organizations such as the Peace Corps and JET.
- CELTA graduates usually receive credit for MA TESOL programs.
"The most widely recognized and respected TEFL certification worldwide." ELT Guide
Why Is The CELTA So Highly Regarded?
- Cambridge is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
- The CELTA program is by far the largest and most well-known TEFL/TESL training program in the world.
- Each center undergoes a rigorous approval process and a Cambridge assessor visits every course run in every center.
- Courses provide expert instruction in methodology and language analysis, and include practice teaching with real classes of foreign students.
- Courses offer training in a communicative teaching approach based on the best of current classroom techniques. This approach can be adapted to meet the needs of students in many different contexts.
- Only people who attain a good standard of teaching gain certification.
Is The CELTA Available Online?
Since evaluated practice teaching is at the heart of CELTA training, it is not possible to obtain the CELTA by taking an on-line course. However, Cambridge is currently piloting a blended (on-line and face-to-face) version of the course. When this version becomes available, in 2011, participants will be able to complete the "input" half of a CELTA course on-line but they will still need to travel to an approved center to complete the 60 hours of practice teaching and feedback.
The new blended approach will apply only to courses which are offered on a part-time basis over several months. Intensive CELTAs will continue to require full-time participation in a face-to-face course.
What Are The Key Features Of All CELTA Programs?
- Minimum of 120 clock hours of in-class instruction.
- Minimum of 6 hours of practice teaching with classes of foreign students.
- Expert critiquing and discussion of all supervised practice lessons.
- 6 hours of observation of ESL/EFL classes given by experienced teachers.
- Maximum of 18 participants per course.
- Trainer/Trainee ratio of 1:6 or better.
What Are The Minimum Qualifications For Trainers?
- An MA in TEFL/TESOL (or a related field) or the RSA/Cambridge Diploma in TEFL;
- At least 5 years of EFL/ESL classroom teaching experience;
- Completion of an approved program of training as a TEFL/TESL trainer.
Do CELTA Centers And Courses Vary?
As was explained above, all CELTA courses have to meet certain minimum conditions set and monitored by Cambridge. However, they are free to design their own programs and they can exceed these minimum conditions if they want. As a result, there is quite a big difference between centers, just as there is a big difference between the BA/BS programs offered by different universities. (This is one reason why CELTA courses, like degree courses, vary so much in price.)
Some CELTA centers provide extensive pre-course work so that participants can prepare themselves well for their course, while others provide/require little in the way of pre-course assignments. Some centers provide participants with specially designed course manuals and post-course development materials while others do not. Also, some centers provide detailed job placement help while most provide little or no guidance in this area.
Another important point to bear in mind is that some centers have established CELTA programs and offer courses on a regular basis, while some other schools offer courses only occasionally, normally employing trainers who are imported on a temporary basis. The standard of courses is almost certain to be higher at established centers which offer the CELTA on a regular basis: the program will be better organized, the trainers will form a more cohesive team and the center will be better able to provide in-course and post-course job placement help.
How Can I Get Maximum Benefit From A CELTA Course?
For advice on how to get the maximum benefit - and enjoyment - from a CELTA program, go to: How To Get The Most From Your CELTA Course.
More About the CELTA:
You can find out more about the CELTA by going to: Common Myths About the CELTA.
You can find out more about the CELTA by visiting the Cambridge website. This has details of the program syllabus and assessment guidelines, as well as a complete list of CELTA centers: www.cambridgeesol.org
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Want To Prepare Yourself For Your Training Course?
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Jeff has also produced a grammar development course that will help teachers to get the maximum benefit from CELTA and other intensive TEFL training courses. For more details of these publications, click here.
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